The New York Times today said it has acquired audio news platform Audm as it looks to tap into the growing popularity of on-demand listening.
Audm, which was founded in 2016, turns longform written articles into audio tracks, which are then narrated by professional voice actors.
The audio app gives subscribers access to hours of new stories each week from publications including The New Yorker, Wired and Vanity Fair.
Audm will continue to work with multiple publishers following the deal, but will now also begin recording articles from the New York Times.
The newspaper group said it will begin to run narrated articles every Sunday on The Daily — its hugely popular news podcast.
The paper said it had already started publishing audio versions of new stories, beginning with the magazine and expanding to other desks soon.
In a blog post the company said the acquisition “couldn’t have come at a more valuable time”.
“The audio team is looking for ways to provide escape and relief in the time of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
It added that the new narrated stories would “offer a welcome balm during these times, and they’ll be an effective way to introduce listeners to a different form of audio storytelling”.
Audio versions of New York Times stories will run in the Audm app, as well as on the article page.
As part of the takeover, Audm founders Ryan Wegner and Christian Brink will join the New York Times.
Shares in the media group hit a 15-year high in February after the newspaper said it gained more than 1m digital subscribers in 2019.